UL-Lafayette beat the UNO men’s basketball team for the sixth time in a row, but the Ragin' Cajuns needed five extra minutes to do it.
Jerekius Davis and Cedric Russell hit 3-pointers from virtually the same spot on the baseline in overtime as the Cajuns outlasted the Privateers 77-73 on Wednesday night at Lakefront Arena.
Given a rare opportunity to play a nonconference Division I opponent at home, UNO (3-3) almost notched a nice victory. The Privateers led for almost the entire first 30 minutes but could not hold on.
The Cajuns (4-3) took their first lead, 45-44, on P.J. Hardy’s off-balance driving layup with 9:11 left. Hardy hit a 3-pointer just under the 8:00 mark for a four-point advantage, but the Cajuns could not quite pull away.
Trailing 55-50, UNO scored six straight points on a basket by Ezekiel Charles and two layups by Damion Rosser to go back ahead. Privateers freshman Gerrale Gates then answered Justin Miller’s swooping left-handed hook shot in the lane in the final minute with a tying, short jumper in the lane with 12 seconds left, sending it to overtime.
The Cajuns never trailed in the extra session, taking a 4-3 advantage in overtime games between the teams.
Hardy sealed the victory, hitting two free throws with 1.7 seconds left. Hardy, JaKeenan Gant and Malik Marquetti led a balanced scoring effort for the Cajuns with 12 points apiece.
Gates led UNO with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Damion Rosser had a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), and UL-Lafayette transfer Scott Plaisance added nine points and nine rebounds.
UNO opened up a 29-15 lead with four minutes left in the first half, outscoring the Cajuns 14-2 on a series of transition baskets. Landry-Walker grad Lamont Berzat, a 5-foot-6 point guard, raced in for a layup before Bryson Robinson converted his own steal into a lay-up and fed Rosser for a thunderous alley-oop.
The Cajuns responded with a 11-0 run to close the half, getting right back in the game. It started with a long 3-pointer from Marquetti, who drained another 3 a little more than a minute later.
UL-Lafayette was fortunate to be that close after committing 14 turnovers, two off its season high for a full game.
The Cajuns cut down the miscues to five in the second half and overtime, enabling them to win and complete a sweep of the New Orleans teams after beating Tulane last Wednesday in the fifth-place game of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.